Well, folks, it’s that time of year again! And by that, of course, I mean that I just got back from my favorite place: Walt Disney World! This year’s trip was incredible, as always, and so was the food. I’ll be posting a series of dining reviews over the next week, so be sure to keep checking in.
Unlike many other families, the Shannon clan makes the journey from NC to FL by car. Ten hours of movies, snacks, and silly jokes are always a great time. This year especially, since my entire family hadn’t been all together since Easter. We were way overdue for family time.
Normally on car trips, we stop at Chickfila because it is the only fast food place that doesn’t give me issues (PTL for grilled nuggets and fruit!). This year, though, we drove down on a Sunday. So no Chickfila for me. I got creative and roasted a bunch of veggies and bought some Butternut Squash hummus (yum!) from Whole Foods and packed a little lunch box so I’d be all set when the fam stopped for lunch. Before leaving Chicago, I made sure to pack a bunch of allergy-friendly snacks to take on the trip: Enjoy Life Foods Grab & Go products were an obvious choice. It’s a rare day when I don’t have at least on SunSeed Crunch or BCB bar in my bag. Actually, I’m pretty sure that right now, I have one in every purse I own. For emergencies, of course. Anyways, between the ELF goodies, Exo Protein Bars, Epic Bars, KIND Bars (y’all those Mint Chocolate and Coconut Chocolate ones are the BOMB!), and Tigernuts (love ‘em!), I was extra prepared for the entire week. My dad went to the store the day before we left and got all of the non-GF snacks. He came back with like 2 giant bags of stuff. LOL me every time I go to the grocery store. If you ever need more proof that I’m related to him, that would be it.
That night, after checking in at our hotel (Old Key West Resort – Jimmy Buffet songs on repeat? Definitely a fan), we met our aunt Susie at Downtown Disney (now technically Disney Springs, but let’s be real here. It’s Downtown Disney). WOW has a lot changed since last October! Pretty sure the place is twice the size as it was last time I was there. So many new restaurants to try! We had a reservation at Paradiso 37, a restaurant offering a “taste of the Americas” that I’ve just been dying to try ever since I looked at the menu and saw tostones and yucca fries (key to my heart – take note, fellas).
Seriously, I was so tempted to just order a bunch of sides so I could have all the starches. Much like every time I went to Mami Nora’s back in Raleigh. BUT I compromised and got the roasted chicken, which came with yucca fries and roasted vegetables. Plus I ordered an extra side of tostones because duh. The waiter was super patient with my zillion questions. One thing I liked was that all of the GF options were marked on the menu. The thing I’ve noticed about ethnic food is that gluten tends to be less of a problem. Figures. BUT after I asked about gluten-free options and shared fryers, I had to also ask about corn. Tortilla chips were brought out for the table, and I was so nervous that the tostones and/or yucca fries would be prepared in the same fryer to make them gluten-free. Luckily, I was good to go on both. Yay! My meal ended up being free of gluten, corn, dairy, tomatoes, apples and peanuts by default. And it was delicious. They gave me like, half of a chicken, so I didn’t finish it. But I was a good girl and ate all of my sides. I even shared my fries with my family. True love.
Oh and did I mention that my parents and I also split a pitcher of white sangria? We did. It was great.
When we got back to the hotel after dinner, we checked out the gift store and I found the entire selection of Enjoy Life Foods Snacks with Character. Fun fact – 1 year ago that day, I started working for Enjoy Life as a brand ambassador and got to see the package renderings for the Snacks with Character, so it was really cool to see them on shelf exactly 1 year later.
Stay tuned for the rest of my reviews, coming soon!